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Posts tagged "experience"

Modern Origins of Anxiety: Reflections on Idolatry

Modern Origins of Anxiety: Reflections on Idolatry

In last week’s post on anxiety we traced some threads in epistemology, or the way we acquire knowledge, and particularly knowledge about our own standing to God, focusing especially the question, “in which places do we experience his presence”? One problem with a more modern, ‘scientific’ epistemology, generally speaking, is that God’s presence becomes unthinkable apart from our recognition of it. For example, it’s not enough to be told God is present in the Eucharist; I must feel something to confirm it. The hidden but present God of Psalm 139, to whom “even darkness is light”, becomes impossible when our perception…

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Can God Work in Poetry? Simeon Zahl on Spiritual Experience

Can God Work in Poetry? Simeon Zahl on Spiritual Experience

From the festschrift honoring Paul Zahl, Comfortable Words, son Simeon Zahl argues convincingly that God may work in any avenue of human life, broadening the Holy Spirit’s arena beyond the traditional Word (preaching, Bible) and sacrament:

In Isaiah, we are reminded that “All flesh is grass… The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it”… the communication of this truth, this broad and profound truth about the futility of merely human activities and strivings in light of death, falls under the remit of the Spirit of truth, despite the fact that it does not immediately or directly reference…

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Modern Origins of Anxiety: Scientific Christianity and Perceptive Optimism

Modern Origins of Anxiety: Scientific Christianity and Perceptive Optimism

The question of what causes anxiety is one to which we’ve given an embarrassing amount of attention, especially within the context of Christianity. The Onion was good to remind us that “Anxiety [Isn’t] Resolved By Thinking About It Really Hard”, but the relationship between religion and anxiety is a fascinating and potent one; i.e., the decline of religion and rise of anxiety may not be completely independent phenomena… but by “decline of religion” we don’t just mean secularization, but also certain shifts within religion itself.

As a Church called to look for the plank in our own eyes, I think our complicity in the rise…

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Mary Karr, Mini-Lives, and News From Across the (Human/Robot Divide)

Mary Karr, Mini-Lives, and News From Across the (Human/Robot Divide)

Reading Mary Karr’s fantastic memoir Lit, one quote in particular stuck out to me as beautifully describing a tendency we humans have to fall into more limited emotional ranges:

…anything worth doing could be undertaken later. Paint the apartment, write a book, quit booze, sure: tomorrow. Which ensures that life gets lived in miniature. In lieu of the large feelings – sorrow, fury, joy – I had their junior counterparts – anxiety, irritation, excitement.

I don’t want to read into Karr’s emotional experiences, but for me this passage elucidates the emotional life lived in times when the Law, or demand to achieve, is…

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Ted Hughes on Inner Children and the Center of Magic and Revelation

Ted Hughes on Inner Children and the Center of Magic and Revelation

Consistently in the Gospels, Christ tells people that they must become like little children in order to enter the Kingdom of God, in order to see the world properly through lenses unclouded by the ego (in modern terms), unimpaired by the countless protections and rationalizations and self-justifying constructions which permeate adult life. Last week Letters of Note, a blog that publishes interesting letters by public figures, featured an explication of the inner child by none other than Ted Hughes as he addresses his son’s feelings of childishness. It’s well worth reading in its entirety here, but some highlights include:

Nicholas, don’t…

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